Fantastic Beasts Dumbledore
Jude Law as Dumbledore in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Warner Bros

Harry Potter fans have been left dismayed after it was revealed by Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald director David Yates that the upcoming Harry Potter prequel will not "explicitly" address the sexuality of fan-favourite Albus Dumbledore.

The future Hogwarts headmaster, played in the 1930s-set film by Jude Law, was revealed to be gay by author JK Rowling in 2007, a few months after the publication of the series' final book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

She explained at the time that "Dumbledore fell in love with Grindelwald, and that added to his horror when Grindelwald showed himself to be what he was."

Grindelwald, an evil wizard controversially played in the movie by Johnny Depp, is a focal point of the Fantastic Beasts series, and so most fans assumed that the pair's relationship and Dumbledore's sexuality would become key to the plot.

Apparently not. When asked if the wizard being gay would be addressed, Yates told Entertainment Weekly: "Not explicitly."

"I think all the fans are aware of that. He had a very intense relationship with Grindelwald when they were young men. They fell in love with each other's ideas, and ideology and each other."

While fans are aware of Dumbledore's sexuality, it's never been explicitly stated in the Potter books or films, and that kind of mainstream recognition of what is a fact of this character would be significant to fans and to the representation of LGBT people on film.

Also, given Dumbledore's relationship with Grindelwald, it's going to be pretty difficult to ignore. There are many more films left in the series however and while there won't explicit references in the new film, there may well be allusions to it.

With Rowling writing the script however, fans were hopeful she and the filmmakers would seize the opportunity to formally confirm that such an iconic and popular character is gay.

"IT'S 2018 LMAO GET IT TOGETHER," wrote Conor Goldsmith on Twitter.

Nerdist editor Alicia Lutes didn't hold back, saying: "Listen, we all knew it was time to let go of #FantasticBeasts when they doubled down on Depp - that Yates confirmed they're going to sidestep Dumbledore being gay in the film means JK and her team have f**ked up huge and it's time to ignore this franchise completely. Let it die."

Journalist Jill Pantozzi added: "If you're not going to make Young Dumbledore's sexuality explicitly clear in Fantastic Beasts then why even bother with this film at all tbh?"

We've embedded many more tweets below.

Leading LGBTQ group Glaad found that in 2016, only 18.4% of films released by major studios contained characters identified as LGBTQ.

Following the casting of Depp – who appeared in the 2016 film briefly but whose inclusion sparked controversy following accusations of domestic abuse from ex wife Amber Heard – this is sure to harm the film even more ahead of its release on 16 November 2018.

Eddie Redmayne stars in the film alongside Law, Depp, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Ezra Miller, and Zoë Kravitz.